David and I have travelled a decent amount in our five years of marriage thanks to his touring lifestyle, but not a lot of trips are purely for a vacation together. I love to travel. It’s certainly a trait that I inherited from my parents. They are currently traveling the world after going through the reverse mortgage process with SoFi. This summer we decided we were craving a little visit to California so we figured we would wait until the weather got bad at home and then make our escape to the warmer weather. We have teamed up with American Express to share some travelling tips that we’ve learned along the way and the first is how we save for our trips.
1. Saving for our trips
Over the summer we’d been saving up our American Express Membership Rewards points and come fall, booked our flights. The new Fixed Points Travel Program from Amex is so easy and reliable to book flights with – there’s no extra hidden fees or limitations like blackout dates or odd flight times. But their awesome points system isn’t limited to flights. You can use your Membership Rewards points for any part of your travel; flights, hotels, and car rentals. A great start for saving points for our trip was earning 25,000 Membership Rewards points as a welcome bonus when we spent $1,500 in the first 3 months of Card membership with the Gold Rewards Card. After that, you earn 2 points for every dollar spent on eligible travel and everyday purchases (gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores) and 1 point for every dollar spent for everything else.
2. Planning our days
To make it possible for us we made this a short 4 day trip, so to make the most of it we planned out what we wanted to do beforehand. We’ve done trips when we don’t know what restaurants to eat at or areas to check out and it feels like there’s a lot of walking aimlessly, getting really hungry and settling for the closest option. But we have quickly learned the art of making sure we know what we are going to do before we leave. Especially being a family now and having a toddler around, we need to know where we’re going ahead of time to ensure everything goes smoothly. It’s also important for us to ensure that we are getting the best bang for our buck! That’s why we charge everything to our American Express Gold Rewards Card so we can earn points on every dollar we spend and use them towards our next family trip.
3. How to plan
Get on Pinterest, ask around on social media, and check travels blogs for suggestions (My favourite – Local Wanderer ). Each place that I’m interested in visiting I check how far it is from where we’re staying and, if it’s doable, I look up the location’s Instagram tags to get a realistic feel of what it looks like, what kind of people are there etc. This usually gives me a good sense of if it’s somewhere I think we’ll like. I then group together the destinations by location so we can spend a day or afternoon exploring one area and hit all our must-see spots! It can also be helpful to find out when the best time to visit the destination you are looking to visit is. For example, we’ve been looking to visit Slovenia soon. So of course, we researched before choosing when to go to Slovenia. It is important to choose the right time to go somewhere as visiting some parts of the year could be completely different to another time. Wherever you decide to go though, it is really important that you know exactly where you’ll be staying and how much your accommodation is going to cost (if you’re going for an extended stay). If you have no idea where to look, you may want to have a look at the Expat Guide To Great Destinations for further help and information.
Exploring is high on the priority list for us, but when you have one toddler in tow and another in your belly, certain aspects of your exploration needs to be carefully planned. For example, if you know you want to visit Texas, you should be looking into things like Austin RV Rentals, so that you can plan for the trip. Road trips, in particular, need lots of planning so try and get this done as far in advance as possible!
This post is sponsored by American Express, but all views and opinions are our own.